I was amazed to discover I actually took one full year off from watercolor painting! It was a busy year, with lots of trips (including a month-long trip to Europe!) and painting just kinda got away from me. It happens. I returned to it because I wanted to paint a wedding card for some friends-I wanted something personal and not standard from a card shop. So I got out my Yupo paper and painted this from a photo from their engagement shoot. I love Yupo paper to paint on, how it's taught me to loose up my strokes, how the white of the paper really allows the color of the paint to come through, and the splotchy effects you can get by spritzing a bit of alcohol onto the wet paint. The card was a hit, and they really expressed their appreciation for this painting!
So with that bit of succes
s I felt motivated to get back into a regular painting practice. One of my "hangups" about painting is the issue to where to put all the paintings I do. I dislike having stacks and stacks of paintings laying around. I came up with a solution, though: practice painting in a small sketchbook! So while in Flagstaff recently I bought a Pentalic Nature Sketch book, and for my first painting in it I did a (sorta) plein air of the San Francisco Peaks (as seen from the window of my mother-in-law's hospital room). I first sketched the outlines in pencil, drew over them with a Pigma Micron pen, and added washes of color using the paints from my little Altoid palette (containing French Ultramarine, Hansa Yellow, Red Rose Deep, Carbazole Violet, Sap Green, Quinacridone Burnt Orange). I since have done a few more practice paintings in this sketchbook, mostly from photo references.
With my painting juices flowing, I did a couple more paintings on "real" paper:
The horse silhouette is a 5x7" on Arches 140 lb paper from a friend's photo taken of his wife working her horse with the last bit of light left in the day. I loved the color in the sky gradient and just had to paint it. I sent the painting off to them in the mail as a surprise. The second is a 5x7" on Yupo of a friends puppy mastiff, taken just after he graduated from obedience school. I will be giving this away as well when I see these friends next. Giving paintings away is another good way to keep the stack of old paintings from growing in the closet!